This video is a detailed look into the Cauvery Calling Project.
Video courtesy of Cauvery Calling.
Location: 28 Cauvery River basin districts; 9 districts in Karnataka and 19 in Tamil Nadu, India
TreeSisters is supporting the revitalisation of the Cauvery River basin that will transform the lives of 84 million people living in the region. We are working with Cauvery Calling, a social outreach organisation based in India as the project partner. The aim is to help farmers of the Cauvery basin by distributing 103,448 trees each year, funded through TreeSisters. Cauvery Calling will be ensuring the survival of these trees, which brings a multitude of benefits including; improving the soil health by replenishing organic content, reviving the river and groundwater levels by increasing water retention in the Cauvery River Basin by an estimated 40% and increasing farmer income through tree-based farming, a method which has been proven to be effective in the area.
The water level in the Cauvery River has drastically reduced over the last few decades and agricultural soils have become increasingly degraded. Farmers in the Cauvery basin have spoken about their emotional distress and report dire economic situations due to failing crops. 83% of the farmers in Tamil Nadu and 77% of the farmers in Karnataka are in debt due to failed crops. The problem is caused by insufficient rainfall and the inability of the water table to recharge, this is due to the removal of the forests and the trees in the surrounding area. Deforestation has been exacerbated by poverty and climate change has further reduced the rainfall in the area. Without trees and forests, the Cauvery River Basin will not recover.
The overall goal of this project is to plant 2.42 billion trees over 12 years covering approximately 8.3 million hectares. This project is unique as it engages local farmers to make a partial shift from crop cultivation to perennial tree-based farming. The trees are planted in borders or blocks depending on the land use and availability of space. Each farmer determines where and how the trees are planted on their land, taking account of which tree species are best to grow in the specific soil. The farmers protect these trees in the same way they protect their crops.
In a previous project run by Isha Outreach known as Project Greenhands, nearly 70,000 farmers participated in a similar programme and found their income increased 3 to 8 times more when trees were planted when compared to planting crops alone. Because many farmers live in Cauvery River Basin, this method of involving local communities provides the opportunity to convert one-third of the geographical area into tree coverage. This will include coverage at various levels of river catchment so that the restoration can benefit the entire water system in the area.
"Based on the incredible success of Project Greenhands, Isha Outreach have evolved and expanded their vision to create the new Cauvery Calling project. Cauvery Calling operates at river basin level, spanning two states across the Southern part of India. The aim is to plant an incredible 2.42 billion trees over the next 12 years through a profoundly innovative model." ~Madeliene Scordellis
Want to know more about this project? Please click below for more information.
By Madeleine Scordellis